Milestone Blog Post Featured Lori Crider

Meet Lori Crider

Lori Crider is passionate about building relationships with customers. It’s what gets her excited about her role as Sales Manager of Milestone Trailer Leasing’s Dallas division. She shares why Milestone is the absolute best trailer leasing option and what’s key to growing and retaining customer relationships.

A Day in the Life

Tell us about your responsibilities as Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. What does your typical day look like?

My focus has been to grow the Dallas market and maintain our existing customer base. Dallas is one of our newer locations (we opened last summer). It’s a growing market and it’s a great place to be in terms of the economy. Dallas also has an unusually high amount of competition.

Seeing how Dallas is a saturated market, how do you reach these customers?

I try to use all the different modes of marketing including phone calls, emails and personal visits. In this industry, you must be face-to-face with the customers and prospects which makes personal visits vitally important. I am involved in the Transportation Club of Dallas/Fort Worth and other industry networking events. You’ve got to be making those personal connections.

Accomplishments & Challenges

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Bringing on customers from my previous employer who sold their trailer leasing division and got out of the business. I’ve been in Dallas since 2010, so I had built up some business with other companies and past referrals.  It was exciting to get those customers to come over to Milestone.

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today?

There’s a lot of on uncertainty with how the ELD mandates will affect the industry.

Why Milestone?

What things about your job get you excited?

We are absolutely the best trailer leasing option out there. So many of our competitors are letting their customers down. Since Dallas is a newer location, it’s fun getting our name out there. Part of what I’m doing is talking with people and making them aware of who we are and what we offer. It’s thrilling to know that our executive team responds promptly and appropriately plus the fact that we’re in 27 locations with over 40,000 units definitely gets the attention of our prospects.

What keeps you up at night?

I just want to see Milestone’s brand grow and excel in the North Texas market. I see it as an exciting thing as we keep moving forward.

Success Stories

What is a great story about Milestone Trailer Leasing that you love to share?

We were able to use 15 of our storage trailers in the show, Queen of the South, which is on USA Network. Our trailers were used to simulate a loading dock in Galveston, TX.

What is a great customer story that you love to share?

I walked in at the right time to visit with a prospect. He said, “We have a problem. We need equipment and your competitor didn’t have a quote approved, so the costs actually came back higher but I signed the agreement anyway. I was also just told that they won’t be able to provide the trailers which we need in service within the next two weeks.” We ended up taking three 2009 model roll door trailers, ordered three new lift gates, got them installed and ready to go in a one-month period (from getting the right approvals through our executive team, lift gates ordered, installed and ready to go). The customer was impressed. This is a great example of  how quickly and effectively we can respond as a company to cover a unique need.

 

 

 

Milestone Trailer Leasing Sustainability

Fostering a Culture of Sustainability

Environmentally Conscious

Operating with sustainability in mind keeps Milestone at the forefront of the transportation industry. Going green makes sense – and cents – because shippers are looking for transportation providers that are committed to operating with a lower carbon footprint.

Environmental sustainability is not just the way of the future – it’s happening now and Milestone is staying ahead of the curve. We understand the merits of investing in the newest technology and equipment to transform our fleets.

In order to meet growing emissions standards nationwide (CARB, the California Air Resources Board, for example) our dry vans are fitted with aerodynamic and energy-efficient equipment compliant with all current regulations. Depending on our customers’ needs, we will fit our trailers with equipment including:

  • Low resistance tires
  • Side skirts
  • Spoilers fitted behind the back doors
  • Two panels on either side of a trailer; fitted across the top.

These systems can deliver 5 to 10 percent more fuel efficiency, depending on the configuration.

Reefers are fitted with state-of-the-art technology, such as forever filters. This is a new technology that won’t have to be continually updated and will make the refrigeration unit CARB compliant, essentially forever.

“We are continuing to invest in more and more equipment that is sustainable,” says Jason Pahules, Regional Sales Manager at Milestone Trailer Leasing. “Customers want it because it makes sense. For us, reduced fuel consumption is better for the bottom line. Lower CO2 emissions is better for the environment. A green supply chain drives everyone’s business. It’s a win-win-win.”

Greening up doesn’t have to be confusing or complicated. That’s why we make it as approachable as possible. The Milestone way starts at that first conversation with our customer.

“Our approach to customer service is all about that personal touch,” says Pahules. “We are intentional about providing unmatched personalized attention – it’s what sets us apart from the competition.”

Milestone Trailer Leasing - Sarah Johnson

Meet Sarah Johnson

Milestone Trailer Leasing - Sarah JohnsonSarah Johnson, Executive Vice President of Branch Operations at Milestone Trailer Leasing, is driven to come to work to make sure her team is successful. “I love what I do,” she says. “I love to help them win. It’s very rewarding.” Johnson discusses how Milestone Trailer Leasing goes above and beyond when it comes to customer service, what the future holds for the company, and her biggest a-ha moment.

 

 

 

Milestone Background

Tell us about the transition from Personal Attention Leasing (PAL) to Milestone Trailer Leasing?

It’s always been about focusing on the customer service aspect. We have trailers and our competitors have trailers, but what’s the differentiating factor? For us, it’s about how we better partner with our customers. That gets back to this idea of creativity and flexibility. For me it’s fun to do some creative problem solving; I like innovating in an industry that doesn’t often require innovation. That was the whole foundation of PAL, it was about being flexible. It started out as a local, then regional and now we’re at a national level.

A Day in the Life

Tell us about your role as Executive Vice President of Branch Operations at Milestone Trailer Leasing. What does a typical day look like?

My day is focused around supporting branch operations in 25+ locations across the US. This could be through structuring deals for customers, sourcing equipment, and general problem solving. It’s about being in constant communication. Setting up calls every day to review pricing and quantity of trailers; fleshing out details; arming the operations team with data to go out and execute with customers. I spend a lot of time traveling, meeting customers, evaluating the sales approach, helping them to understand their markets, and ultimately evaluating how we can be more successful. That success then drives the metrics, utilization, and overall profitability of the business which is the most important for everyone!

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’ve been in the industry a long time in a variety of functions. I’ve loved getting out over the past couple of years and building that customer rapport and getting on the frontline and watching those relationships grow. It’s very rewarding. It’s easy to sit behind a computer or on the phone and ask the team to do something, but getting out and doing it with them gives me firsthand knowledge of the interactions and how to help them through day to day issues.

Biggest a-ha moment?

Our most successful sales people have a strong rapport with their customers. They take their time to get to know their customer and build trust. They become a partner and not just a vendor. It’s not just about closing the sale, but having the rapport so that when the customer has a problem, they will pick up the phone and give us the chance to help them.

Providing a Great Experience

What’s the key to unparalleled customer service?

It’s finding employees who are driven to work hard and who are going to be of service. If the team is dedicated to building a successful business that translates into making sure the business is building strong customer relationships. You also have to be good at negotiating with customers; doing what’s in the best interest of Milestone while retaining the customer relationship. Therein lies the art.

What is key to a strong team?

There are many elements that make a strong team. A few worth noting are respect for one another, communication and having positive attitudes. We also have to collectively celebrate the wins (recognize failures) and respect each other’s roles on the team.

Challenges & Predicting the Future

What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today?

Driver shortage and accessibility to drivers. In addition to new regulations with ELD (electronic logging device), the third thing is the shift to online retail. It’s changing the shape of transportation and who’s participating. It’s in its infancy, so there are a lot of efficiencies to be made on that front.

What does the future hold for Milestone Trailer Leasing? What things are you excited about?

Continuing to identify gaps in the industry then where and how to fill them. Thinking outside the box when it comes to industry-wide solutions, as well as continuing to develop a strong team. Nothing is stagnate and we have to be ready to evolve. What’s next? It’s exciting to think about.

What keeps you up at night?

I worry about if I was supposed to call someone back and didn’t because the day got away from me or if I need to get an answer to someone so I’m not holding them up. I worry about the overall health of the business and if we’re doing all we can to make it successful. The other thing is making sure I’m delivering the message and everyone is on board and we’re pushing in the same direction. We use the analogy about rowing a boat, and how we need everyone rowing in the same direction. It affects the team if someone is rowing the other way.

Why Milestone?

What is a great story about Milestone Trailer Leasing that you love to share?

We’re pushing on bigger accounts where we haven’t been able to before. We are partnering with bigger companies in a bigger way. It’s been organic growth; everyone pitches in to make it work and it’s rewarding.

What is a great customer story that you love to share about MTL?

There was a target account in Atlanta our sales rep was working on for over a year. For a year, she listened to me say, “Why aren’t we in there?” A year spent calling on them, working through several contacts and really cultivating a relationship with them. Today they have over 100 trailers with us. It speaks to the sales rep’s perseverance and drive to win. I love it!